In active networks, excitatory and inhibitory synaptic inputs generate membrane voltage fluctuations that drive spike activity in a probabilistic manner. Despite this, some cells in vivo show a strong propensity to precisely lock to the local field potential and maintain a specific spike-phase relationship relative to other cells. In recordings from rat medial entorhinal cortical stellate cells, we measured spike phase-locking in response to sinusoidal “test” inputs in the presence of different forms of background membrane voltage fluctuations, generated via dynamic clamp. We find that stellate cells show strong and robust spike phase-locking to theta (4–12 Hz) inputs. This response occurs under a wide variety of background membrane voltage fluctuation conditions that include a substantial increase in overall membrane conductance. Furthermore, the IH current present in stellate cells is critical to the enhanced spike phase-locking response at theta. Finally, we show that correlations between inhibitory and excitatory conductance fluctuations, which can arise through feed-back and feed-forward inhibition, can substantially enhance the spike phase-locking response. The enhancement in locking is a result of a selective reduction in the size of low frequency membrane voltage fluctuations due to cancelation of inhibitory and excitatory current fluctuations with correlations. Hence, our results demonstrate that stellate cells have a strong preference for spike phase-locking to theta band inputs and that the absolute magnitude of locking to theta can be modulated by the properties of background membrane voltage fluctuations.
synaptic correlations; high conductance; theta; IH; voltage fluctuations; balanced excitation and inhibition; spike phase-locking
Understanding central processing requires precise monitoring of neural activity across populations of identified neurons in the intact brain. Here we used recently-optimized variants of the genetically-encoded calcium sensor GCaMP (GCaMP3 and GCaMPG5G) to image activity among genetically- and anatomically-defined neuronal populations in the olfactory bulb (OB), including two types of GABA-ergic interneurons (periglomerular (PG) and short axon (SA) cells) and OB output neurons (mitral/tufted (MT) cells) projecting to piriform cortex. We first established that changes in neuronal spiking can be accurately related to GCaMP fluorescence changes via a simple quantitative relationship over a large dynamic range. We next used in vivo two-photon imaging from individual neurons and epifluorescence signals reflecting population-level activity to investigate the spatiotemporal representation of odorants across these neuron types in anesthetized and awake mice. Under anesthesia, individual PG and SA cells showed temporally simple responses and little spontaneous activity, while MT cells were spontaneously active and showed diverse temporal responses. At the population level, response patterns of PG, SA and MT cells were surprisingly similar to those imaged from sensory inputs, with shared odorant-specific topography across the dorsal OB and inhalation-coupled temporal dynamics. During wakefulness, PG and SA cell responses increased in magnitude but remained temporally simple while those of MT cells changed to complex spatiotemporal patterns reflecting restricted excitation and widespread inhibition. These results point to multiple circuit elements with distinct roles in transforming odor representations in the OB and provide a framework for further dissecting early olfactory processing using optical and genetic tools.
Plasmodium falciparum causes approximately 1 million deaths annually. However increasing resistance imposes a continuous threat to existing drug therapies. We previously reported a number of potent and selective triazolopyrimidine-based inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase that inhibit parasite in vitro growth with similar activity. Lead optimization of this series led to the recent identification of a preclinical candidate, showing good activity against P. falciparum in mice. As part of a backup program around this scaffold, we explored heteroatom rearrangement and substitution in the triazolopyrimidine ring and have identified several other ring configurations that are active as PfDHODH inhibitors. The imidazo[1,2-α]pyrimidines were shown to bind somewhat more potently than the triazolopyrimidines depending on the nature of the amino aniline substitution. DSM151, the best candidate in this series, binds with 4-fold better affinity (PfDHODH IC50 = 0.077 μM) than the equivalent triazolopyrimidine and suppresses parasites in vivo in the P. berghei model.
Seizures are thought to originate from a failure of inhibition to quell hyperactive neural circuits, but the nature of this failure remains unknown. Here we combine high-speed two-photon imaging with electrophysiological recordings to directly evaluate the interaction between populations of interneurons and principal cells during the onset of seizure-like activity in mouse hippocampal slices. Both calcium imaging and dual patch clamp recordings reveal that in vitro seizure-like events (SLEs) are preceded by pre-ictal bursts of activity in which interneurons predominate. Corresponding changes in intracellular chloride concentration were observed in pyramidal cells using the chloride indicator Clomeleon. These changes were measurable at SLE onset and became very large during the SLE. Pharmacological manipulation of GABAergic transmission, either by blocking GABAA receptors or by hyperpolarizing the GABAA reversal potential, converted SLEs to short interictal-like bursts. Together, our results support a model in which pre-ictal GABAA receptor-mediated chloride influx shifts EGABA to produce a positive feedback loop that contributes to the initiation of seizure activity.
epilepsy; ictogenesis; chloride accumulation; ion imaging; calcium; seizure; GABA; chloride transport; interneuron; targeted path scanning
The terminal phase of cytokinesis in eukaryotic cells involves breakage of the intercellular canal containing the spindle midzone and resealing of the daughter cells. Recent observations suggest that the spindle midzone is required for this process. In this study, we investigated the possibility that targeted secretion in the vicinity of the spindle midzone is required for the execution of the terminal phase of cytokinesis.
We inhibited secretion in early C. elegans embryos by treatment with brefeldin A (BFA). Using 4D recordings of dividing cells, we showed that BFA induced stereotyped failures in the terminal phase of cytokinesis; although the furrow ingressed normally, after a few minutes the furrow completely regressed, even though spindle midzone and midbody microtubules appeared normal. In addition, using an FM1-43 membrane probe, we found that membrane accumulated locally at the apices of the late cleavage furrows that form the persisting intercellular canals between daughter cells. However, in BFA-treated embryos this membrane accumulation did not occur, which possibly accounts for the observed cleavage failures.
We have shown that BFA disrupts the terminal phase of cytokinesis in the embryonic blastomeres of C. elegans. We observed that membrane accumulates at the apices of the late cleavage furrow by means of a BFA-sensitive mechanism. We suggest that this local membrane accumulation is necessary for the completion of cytokinesis and speculate that the spindle midzone region of animal cells is functionally equivalent to the phragmoplast of plants and acts to target secretion to the equatorial plane of a cleaving cell.
Nipah virus (NiV) is a zoonotic virus belonging to the henipavirus genus in the family Paramyxoviridae. Since NiV was first identified in 1999, outbreaks have continued to occur in humans in Bangladesh and India on an almost annual basis with case fatality rates reported between 40% and 100%.
Ferrets were vaccinated with 4, 20 or 100 μg HeVsG formulated with the human use approved adjuvant, CpG, in a prime-boost regime. One half of the ferrets were exposed to NiV at 20 days post boost vaccination and the other at 434 days post vaccination. The presence of virus or viral genome was assessed in ferret fluids and tissues using real-time PCR, virus isolation, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry; serology was also carried out. Non-immunised ferrets were also exposed to virus to confirm the pathogenicity of the inoculum.
Ferrets exposed to Nipah virus 20 days post vaccination remained clinically healthy. Virus or viral genome was not detected in any tissues or fluids of the vaccinated ferrets; lesions and antigen were not identified on immunohistological examination of tissues; and there was no increase in antibody titre during the observation period, consistent with failure of virus replication. Of the ferrets challenged 434 days post vaccination, all five remained well throughout the study period; viral genome – but not virus - was recovered from nasal secretions of one ferret given 20 μg HeVsG and bronchial lymph nodes of the other. There was no increase in antibody titre during the observation period, consistent with lack of stimulation of a humoral memory response.
We have previously shown that ferrets vaccinated with 4, 20 or 100 μg HeVsG formulated with CpG adjuvant, which is currently in several human clinical trials, were protected from HeV disease. Here we show, under similar conditions of use, that the vaccine also provides protection against NiV-induced disease. Such protection persists for at least 12 months post-vaccination, with data supporting only localised and self-limiting virus replication in 2 of 5 animals. These results augur well for acceptability of the vaccine to industry.
Nipah virus; Hendra virus; Henipavirus; Paramyxovirus; Ferret; Immunity; Vaccination; Glycoprotein; Subunit vaccine; Longevity
During metazoan development, cell diversity arises primarily from asymmetric cell divisions which are executed in two phases: segregation of cytoplasmic factors and positioning of the mitotic spindle – and hence the cleavage plane – relative to the axis of segregation. When polarized cells divide, spindle alignment probably occurs through the capture and subsequent shortening of astral microtubules by a site in the cortex.
Here, we report that dynactin, the dynein-activator complex, is localized at cortical microtubule attachment sites and is necessary for mitotic spindle alignment in early Caenorhabditis elegans embryos. Using RNA interference techniques, we eliminated expression in early embryos of dnc-1 (the ortholog of the vertebrate gene for p150Glued) and dnc-2 (the ortholog of the vertebrate gene for p50/Dynamitin). In both cases, misalignment of mitotic spindles occurred, demonstrating that two components of the dynactin complex, DNC-1 and DNC-2, are necessary to align the spindle.
Dynactin complexes may serve as a tether for dynein at the cortex and allow dynein to produce forces on the astral microtubules required for mitotic spindle alignment.
A limited number of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones are responsible for MRSA infections worldwide, and those of different lineages carry unique Type I restriction-modification (RM) variants. We have identified the specific DNA sequence targets for the dominant MRSA lineages CC1, CC5, CC8 and ST239. We experimentally demonstrate that this RM system is sufficient to block horizontal gene transfer between clinically important MRSA, confirming the bioinformatic evidence that each lineage is evolving independently. Target sites are distributed randomly in S. aureus genomes, except in a set of large conjugative plasmids encoding resistance genes that show evidence of spreading between two successful MRSA lineages. This analysis of the identification and distribution of target sites explains evolutionary patterns in a pathogenic bacterium. We show that a lack of specific target sites enables plasmids to evade the Type I RM system thereby contributing to the evolution of increasingly resistant community and hospital MRSA.
Although vitamin D deficiency is a common feature among patients presenting with active tuberculosis, the full scope of vitamin D action during Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is poorly understood. As macrophages are the primary site of Mtb infection and are sites of vitamin D signaling, we have used these cells to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying modulation of the immune response by the hormonal form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25D). We found that the virulent Mtb strain H37Rv elicits a broad host transcriptional response. Transcriptome profiling also revealed that the profile of target genes regulated by 1,25D is substantially altered by infection, and that 1,25D generally boosts infection-stimulated cytokine/chemokine responses. We further focused on the role of 1,25D- and infection-induced interleukin 1β (IL-1β) expression in response to infection. 1,25D enhanced IL-1β expression via a direct transcriptional mechanism. Secretion of IL-1β from infected cells required the NLRP3/caspase-1 inflammasome. The impact of IL-1β production was investigated in a novel model wherein infected macrophages were co-cultured with primary human small airway epithelial cells. Co-culture significantly prolonged survival of infected macrophages, and 1,25D/infection-induced IL-1β secretion from macrophages reduced mycobacterial burden by stimulating the anti-mycobacterial capacity of co-cultured lung epithelial cells. These effects were independent of 1,25D-stimulated autophagy in macrophages but dependent upon epithelial IL1R1 signaling and IL-1β-driven epithelial production of the antimicrobial peptide DEFB4/HBD2. These data provide evidence that the anti-microbial actions of vitamin D extend beyond the macrophage by modulating paracrine signaling, reinforcing its role in innate immune regulation in humans.
In 2010 there were ∼9 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million deaths, representing the second largest cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a curable disease. M. tuberculosis (Mtb) replicates within cells of the immune system called macrophages over an approximate 72 hour period, ultimately inducing cell death. Notably, macrophages are sites of vitamin D signaling, and there is broad evidence that vitamin D modulates macrophage responses to Mtb. Elevated levels of TB have long been associated with vitamin D deficiency, strongly suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may be of therapeutic benefit. In this study we profile the host macrophage response to Mtb infection through the use of high-throughput genomics techniques. From this we have discovered that the dominant function of vitamin D is the modulation of the levels of specific cytokines, mediators of immune cell to cell signaling. Of particular interest was the increase in IL-1β signaling, which we show to be directly regulated by vitamin D. We also show that this increase in IL-1β is critical for driving a signaling cascade between macrophages and lung epithelial cells leading to epithelial antimicrobial peptide production that helps to contain Mtb infection in our model culture system.
Malaria drug resistance contributes to up to a million annual deaths. Judicious deployment of new antimalarials and vaccines could benefit from an understanding of early molecular events that promote the evolution of parasites. Continuous in vitro challenge of Plasmodium falciparum parasites with a novel dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) inhibitor reproducibly selected for resistant parasites. Genome-wide analysis of independently-derived resistant clones revealed a two-step strategy to evolutionary success. Some haploid blood-stage parasites first survive antimalarial pressure through fortuitous DNA duplications that always included the DHODH gene. Independently-selected parasites had different sized amplification units but they were always flanked by distant A/T tracks. Higher level amplification and resistance was attained using a second, more efficient and more accurate, mechanism for head-to-tail expansion of the founder unit. This second homology-based process could faithfully tune DNA copy numbers in either direction, always retaining the unique DNA amplification sequence from the original A/T-mediated duplication for that parasite line. Pseudo-polyploidy at relevant genomic loci sets the stage for gaining additional mutations at the locus of interest. Overall, we reveal a population-based genomic strategy for mutagenesis that operates in human stages of P. falciparum to efficiently yield resistance-causing genetic changes at the correct locus in a successful parasite. Importantly, these founding events arise with precision; no other new amplifications are seen in the resistant haploid blood stage parasite. This minimizes the need for meiotic genetic cleansing that can only occur in sexual stage development of the parasite in mosquitoes.
Malaria parasites kill up to a million people around the world every year. Emergence of resistance to drugs remains a key obstacle against elimination of malaria. In the laboratory, parasites can efficiently acquire resistance to experimental antimalarials by changing DNA at the target locus. This happens efficiently even for an antimalarial that the parasite has never encountered in a clinical setting. In this study, we formally demonstrate how parasites achieve this feat: first, individual parasites in a population of millions randomly amplify large regions of DNA between short sequence repeats of adenines (A) or thymines (T) that are peppered throughout the malaria parasite genome. The rare lucky parasite that amplifies DNA coding for the target of the antimalarial, along with dozens of its neighboring genes, gains an evolutionary advantage and survives. In a second step, to withstand increasing drug pressure and to achieve higher levels of resistance, each parasite line makes additional copies of this region. This second expansion does not rely on the random A/T-based DNA rearrangements but, instead, a more precise amplification mechanism that retains the unique signature of co-amplified genes created earlier in each parasite. Generation of multiple copies of the target genes in the parasite genome may be the beginning of other beneficial changes for the parasite, including the future acquisition of mutations.
Oscillatory activity in neuronal networks correlates with different behavioral states throughout the nervous system, and the frequency-response characteristics of individual neurons are believed to be critical for network oscillations. Recent in vivo studies suggest that neurons experience periods of high membrane conductance, and that action potentials are often driven by membrane-potential fluctuations in the living animal. To investigate the frequency-response characteristics of CA1 pyramidal neurons in the presence of high conductance and voltage fluctuations, we performed dynamic-clamp experiments in rat hippocampal brain slices. We drove neurons with noisy stimuli that included a sinusoidal component ranging, in different trials, from 0.1 to 500 Hz. In subsequent data analysis, we determined action potential phase-locking profiles with respect to background conductance, average firing rate, and frequency of the sinusoidal component. We found that background conductance and firing rate qualitatively change the phase-locking profiles of CA1 pyramidal neurons vs. frequency. In particular, higher average spiking rates promoted band-pass profiles, and the high-conductance state promoted phase-locking at frequencies well above what would be predicted from changes in the membrane time constant. Mechanistically, spike-rate adaptation and frequency resonance in the spike-generating mechanism are implicated in shaping the different phase-locking profiles. Our results demonstrate that CA1 pyramidal cells can actively change their synchronization properties in response to global changes in activity associated with different behavioral states.
Microsphere suspension array systems enable the simultaneous fluorescent identification of multiple separate nucleotide targets in a single reaction. We have utilized commercially available oligo-tagged microspheres (Luminex MagPlex-TAG) to construct and evaluate multiplexed assays for the detection and differentiation of Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV). Both these agents are bat-borne zoonotic paramyxoviruses of increasing concern for veterinary and human health. Assays were developed targeting multiple sites within the nucleoprotein (N) and phosphoprotein (P) encoding genes. The relative specificities and sensitivities of the assays were determined using reference isolates of each virus type, samples from experimentally infected horses, and archival veterinary diagnostic submissions. Results were assessed in direct comparison with an established qPCR. The microsphere array assays achieved unequivocal differentiation of HeV and NiV and the sensitivity of HeV detection was comparable to qPCR, indicating high analytical and diagnostic specificity and sensitivity.
We consider the mechanisms by which coherent activity arises in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, two brain areas that are associated with episodic memory in humans and similar forms of memory in animal models. Our approach relies upon techniques from the theory of coupled oscillators. We show that such techniques can yield accurate predictions of the behavior of synaptically coupled neurons. Future work will expand upon these techniques to include real-world complications that better mimic the in vivo state.
Modulating the gain of the input-output function of neurons is critical for processing of stimuli and network dynamics. Previous gain control mechanisms have suggested that voltage fluctuations play a key role in determining neuronal gain in vivo. Here we show that, under increased membrane conductance, voltage fluctuations restore Na+ current and reduce spike frequency adaptation in rat hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons in vitro. As a consequence, membrane voltage fluctuations produce a leftward shift in the f-I relationship without a change in gain, relative to an increase in conductance alone. Furthermore, we show that these changes have important implications for the integration of inhibitory inputs. Due to the ability to restore Na+ current, hyperpolarizing membrane voltage fluctuations mediated by GABAA-like inputs can increase firing rate in a high conductance state. Finally, our data show that the effects on gain and synaptic integration are mediated by voltage fluctuations within a physiologically relevant range of frequencies (10–40 Hz).
membrane conductance; voltage fluctuations; gain control; hippocampus; spike frequency adaptation; cumulative Na+ current inactivation
The EcoKI DNA methyltransferase is a trimeric protein comprised of two modification subunits (M) and one sequence specificity subunit (S). This enzyme forms the core of the EcoKI restriction/modification (RM) enzyme. The 3′ end of the gene encoding the M subunit overlaps by 1 nt the start of the gene for the S subunit. Translation from the two different open reading frames is translationally coupled. Mutagenesis to remove the frameshift and fuse the two subunits together produces a functional RM enzyme in vivo with the same properties as the natural EcoKI system. The fusion protein can be purified and forms an active restriction enzyme upon addition of restriction subunits and of additional M subunit. The Type I RM systems are grouped into families, IA to IE, defined by complementation, hybridization and sequence similarity. The fusion protein forms an evolutionary intermediate form lying between the Type IA family of RM enzymes and the Type IB family of RM enzymes which have the frameshift located at a different part of the gene sequence.
During a wide variety of behaviors, hippocampal field potentials show significant power in the theta (4–12 Hz) frequency range and individual neurons commonly phase-lock with the 4–12 Hz field potential. The underlying cellular and network mechanisms that generate the theta rhythm, however, are poorly understood. Oriens-lacunosum moleculare (O-LM) interneurons have been implicated as crucial contributors to generating theta in local hippocampal circuits because of their unique axonal projections, slow synaptic kinetics and the fact that spikes are phase locked to theta field potentials in vivo. We performed experiments in brain slice preparations from Long-Evans rats to investigate the ability of O-LM cells to generate phase-locked spike output in response to artificial synaptic inputs. We find that O-LM cells do not respond with any preference in spike output at theta frequencies when injected with broadband artificial synaptic inputs. However, when presented with frequency-modulated inputs, O-LM spike output shows the ability to phase-lock well to theta-modulated inputs, despite their strong low-pass profiles of subthreshold membrane impedance. This result was dependent on spike refractory dynamics and could be controlled by real-time manipulation of the post-spike afterhyperpolarization. Finally, we show that the ability of O-LM cells to phase-lock well to theta-rich inputs is independent of the h-current, a membrane mechanism often implicated in the generation of theta frequency activity.
Oriens-Lacunosum Moleculare; interneuron; hippocampus; theta; h-current; dynamic clamp; after-hyperpolarization; resonance; refractory
Drug therapy is the mainstay of antimalarial therapy, yet current drugs are threatened by the development of resistance. In an effort to identify new potential anti-malarials we have undertaken a lead optimization program around our previously identified triazolopyrimidine-based series of Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitors. The X-ray structure of PfDHODH was used to inform the medicinal chemistry program allowing the identification of a potent and selective inhibitor (DSM265) that acts through DHODH inhibition to kill both sensitive and drug resistant strains of the parasite. This compound has similar potency to chloroquine in the humanized SCID mouse P. falciparum model, can be synthesized by a simple route, and rodent pharmacokinetic studies demonstrated it has excellent oral bioavailability, a long half-life and low clearance. These studies have identified the first candidate in the triazolopyrimidine series to meet previously established progression criteria for efficacy and ADME properties, justifying further development of this compound towards clinical candidate status.
The henipaviruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV), are two deadly zoonotic viruses for which no vaccines or therapeutics have yet been approved for human or livestock use. In 14 outbreaks since 1994 HeV has been responsible for multiple fatalities in horses and humans, with all known human infections resulting from close contact with infected horses. A vaccine that prevents virus shedding in infected horses could interrupt the chain of transmission to humans and therefore prevent HeV disease in both. Here we characterise HeV infection in a ferret model and show that it closely mirrors the disease seen in humans and horses with induction of systemic vasculitis, including involvement of the pulmonary and central nervous systems. This model of HeV infection in the ferret was used to assess the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a subunit vaccine based on a recombinant soluble version of the HeV attachment glycoprotein G (HeVsG), adjuvanted with CpG. We report that ferrets vaccinated with a 100 μg, 20 μg or 4 μg dose of HeVsG remained free of clinical signs of HeV infection following a challenge with 5,000 TCID50 of HeV. In addition, and of considerable importance, no evidence of virus or viral genome was detected in any tissues or body fluids in any ferret in the 100 and 20 μg groups, while genome was detected in the nasal washes only of one animal in the 4 μg group. Together, our findings indicate that 100 μg or 20 μg doses of HeVsG vaccine can completely prevent a productive HeV infection in the ferret, suggesting that vaccination to prevent the infection and shedding of HeV is possible.
Hendra virus; vaccination; subunit vaccine; glycoprotein G
Malaria is one of the leading causes of severe infectious disease worldwide, yet our ability to maintain effective therapy to combat the illness is continually challenged by the emergence of drug resistance. We previously reported identification of a new class of triazolopyrimidine based P. falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitors with antimalarial activity, leading to the discovery of a new lead series and novel target for drug development. Active compounds from the series contained a triazolopyrimidine ring attached to an aromatic group through a bridging nitrogen atom. Herein we describe systematic efforts to optimize the aromatic functionality with the goal of improving potency and in vivo properties of compounds from the series. These studies led to the identification of two new substituted aniline moieties (4-SF5-Ph and 3,5-Di-F-4-CF3-Ph) which, when coupled to the triazolopyrimidine ring showed good plasma exposure and better efficacy in the P. berghei mouse model of the disease, than previously reported compounds from the series.
Induction of terminal differentiation of neoplastic cells offers potential for a novel approach to cancer therapy. One of the agents being investigated for this purpose in preclinical studies is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D), which can convert myeloid leukemia cells into normal monocyte-like cells, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this process are not fully understood. Here, we report that 1,25D upregulates the expression of hKSR-2, a new member of a small family of proteins that exhibit evolutionarily conserved function of potentiating ras signaling. The upregulation of hKSR-2 is direct, as it occurs in the presence of cycloheximide, and occurs primarily at the transcriptional level, via activation of vitamin D receptor, which acts as a ligand-activated transcription factor. Two VDRE-type motifs identified in the hKSR-2 gene bind VDR-RXR alpha heterodimers present in nuclear extracts of 1,25D-treated HL60 cells, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays show that these VDRE motifs bind VDR in 1,25D-dependent manner in intact cells, coincident with the recruitment of RNA polymerase II to these motifs. Treatment of the cells with siRNA to hKSR-2 reduced the proportion of the most highly differentiated cells in 1,25D-treated cultures. These results demonstrate that hKSR-2 is a direct target of 1,25D in HL60 cells, and is required for optimal monocytic differentiation.
KSR; Vitamin D; vitamin D receptor; si RNA; ras-signaling; differentiation
Computational studies as well as in vivo and in vitro results have shown that many cortical neurons fire in a highly irregular manner and at low average firing rates. These patterns seem to persist even when highly rhythmic signals are recorded by local field potential electrodes or other methods that quantify the summed behavior of a local population. Models of the 30–80 Hz gamma rhythm in which network oscillations arise through ‘stochastic synchrony’ capture the variability observed in the spike output of single cells while preserving network-level organization. We extend upon these results by constructing model networks constrained by experimental measurements and using them to probe the effect of biophysical parameters on network-level activity. We find in simulations that gamma-frequency oscillations are enabled by a high level of incoherent synaptic conductance input, similar to the barrage of noisy synaptic input that cortical neurons have been shown to receive in vivo. This incoherent synaptic input increases the emergent network frequency by shortening the time scale of the membrane in excitatory neurons and by reducing the temporal separation between excitation and inhibition due to decreased spike latency in inhibitory neurons. These mechanisms are demonstrated in simulations and in vitro current-clamp and dynamic-clamp experiments. Simulation results further indicate that the membrane potential noise amplitude has a large impact on network frequency and that the balance between excitatory and inhibitory currents controls network stability and sensitivity to external inputs.
The gamma rhythm is a prominent, 30–80-Hz EEG signal that is associated with cognition. Several classes of computational models have been posited to explain the gamma rhythm mechanistically. We study a particular class in which the gamma rhythm arises from delayed negative feedback. Our study is unique in that we calibrate the model from direct measurements. We also test the model's most critical predictions directly in experiments that take advantage of cutting-edge computer technologies able to simulate ion channels in real time. Our major findings are that a large amount of “background” synaptic input to neurons is necessary to promote the gamma rhythm; that inhibitory neurons are specially tuned to keep the gamma rhythm stable; that noise has a strong effect on network frequency; and that incoming sensory input can be represented with sensitivity that depends on the strength of excitatory-excitatory synapses and the number of neurons receiving the input. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that the gamma rhythm reflects the presence of delayed feedback that controls overall cortical activity on a cycle-by-cycle basis. Furthermore, its frequency range mainly reflects the timescale of synaptic inhibition, the degree of background activity, and noise levels in the network.
How stable synchrony in neuronal networks is sustained in the presence of conduction delays is an open question. The Dynamic Clamp was used to measure phase resetting curves (PRCs) for entorhinal cortical cells, and then to construct networks of two such neurons. PRCs were in general Type I (all advances or all delays) or weakly type II with a small region at early phases with the opposite type of resetting. We used previously developed theoretical methods based on PRCs under the assumption of pulsatile coupling to predict the delays that synchronize these hybrid circuits. For excitatory coupling, synchrony was predicted and observed only with no delay and for delays greater than half a network period that cause each neuron to receive an input late in its firing cycle and almost immediately fire an action potential. Synchronization for these long delays was surprisingly tight and robust to the noise and heterogeneity inherent in a biological system. In contrast to excitatory coupling, inhibitory coupling led to antiphase for no delay, very short delays and delays close to a network period, but to near-synchrony for a wide range of relatively short delays. PRC-based methods show that conduction delays can stabilize synchrony in several ways, including neutralizing a discontinuity introduced by strong inhibition, favoring synchrony in the case of noisy bistability, and avoiding an initial destabilizing region of a weakly type II PRC. PRCs can identify optimal conduction delays favoring synchronization at a given frequency, and also predict robustness to noise and heterogeneity.
Individual oscillators, such as pendulum-based clocks and fireflies, can spontaneously organize into a coherent, synchronized entity with a common frequency. Neurons can oscillate under some circumstances, and can synchronize their firing both within and across brain regions. Synchronized assemblies of neurons are thought to underlie cognitive functions such as recognition, recall, perception and attention. Pathological synchrony can lead to epilepsy, tremor and other dynamical diseases, and synchronization is altered in most mental disorders. Biological neurons synchronize despite conduction delays, heterogeneous circuit composition, and noise. In biological experiments, we built simple networks in which two living neurons could interact via a computer in real time. The computer precisely controlled the nature of the connectivity and the length of the communication delays. We characterized the synchronization tendencies of individual, isolated oscillators by measuring how much a single input delivered by the computer transiently shortened or lengthened the cycle period of the oscillation. We then used this information to correctly predict the strong dependence of the coordination pattern of the firing of the component neurons on the length of the communication delays. Upon this foundation, we can begin to build a theory of the basic principles of synchronization in more complex brain circuits.
We present an in vitro model of human skin that, together with nonlinear optical microscopy, provides a useful system for characterizing morphological and structural changes in a living skin tissue microenvironment due to changes in oxygen status and proteolytic balance. We describe for the first time the effects of chronic oxygen deprivation on a bioengineered model of human interfollicular epidermis. Histological analysis and multiphoton imaging revealed a progressively degenerating ballooning phenotype of the keratinocytes that manifested after 48 h of hypoxic exposure. Multiphoton images of the dermal compartment revealed a decrease in collagen structural order. Immunofluorescence analysis showed changes in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 protein spatial localization in the epidermis with a shift to the basal layer, and loss of Ki67 expression in proliferative basal cells after 192 h of hypoxic exposure. Upon reoxygenation MMP-2 mRNA levels showed a biphasic response, with restoration of MMP-2 levels and localization. These results indicate that chronic oxygen deprivation causes an overall degeneration in tissue architecture, combined with an imbalance in proteolytic expression and a decrease in proliferative capacity. We propose that these tissue changes are representative of the ischemic condition and that our experimental model system is appropriate for addressing mechanisms of susceptibility to chronic wounds.
hypoxia; ischemia; ulceration; bioengineered skin; multiphoton; MMP-2
The metabolism of glycosphingolipids by the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum plays an important role in the progression of the disease. We report a new and highly sensitive method to monitor the uptake of glycosphingolipids in infected red blood cells (iRBCs). A tetramethylrhodamine-labeled glycosphingolipid (GM1-TMR) was used as a substrate. Uptake was demonstrated by fluorescence microscopy. The iRBCs were lysed with a 15% solution of saponin and washed with phosphate buffered saline to release intact parasites. The parasites were further lysed and the resulting homogenates were analyzed by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection. The lysate from erythrocytes infected at 1% parasitemia generated a signal twenty standard deviations larger than uninfected erythrocytes, which suggests that relatively low infection levels can be studied with this technique.
Early consideration of HeV and institution of infection control are critical for reducing human risk.
Hendra virus (HeV) is a highly pathogenic zoonotic paramyxovirus harbored by Australian flying foxes with sporadic spillovers directly to horses. Although the mode and critical control points of HeV spillover to horses from flying foxes, and the risk for transmission from infected horses to other horses and humans, are poorly understood, we successfully established systemic HeV disease in 3 horses exposed to Hendra virus/Australia/Horse/2008/Redlands by the oronasal route, a plausible route for natural infection. In 2 of the 3 animals, HeV RNA was detected continually in nasal swabs from as early as 2 days postexposure, indicating that systemic spread of the virus may be preceded by local viral replication in the nasal cavity or nasopharynx. Our data suggest that a critical factor for reducing HeV exposure risk to humans includes early consideration of HeV in the differential diagnosis and institution of appropriate infection control procedures.
Hendra virus; infection; horses; viruses; zoonoses; Australia; HeV; experimental